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Olympic Games

The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition.

The Games are currently held every two years, with Summer and Winter Olympic Games alternating, although they occur every four years within their respective seasonal games.

For the 776 BC to AD 393 Games see Ancient Olympic Games. Originally, the ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.

Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894.

The IOC has since become the governing body of the Olympic Movement, whose structure and actions are defined by the Olympic Charter.

Story Behind " The origin of the ancient Olympic Games is lost in the midst of pre-history, but for many centuries they were only a festival of the Greek people.

The Games were fest held in honour of the Greek god, Zeus in 776 BC in the plain of the kingdom of Elis, nestled in a lush valley between the Alpheus River and Mount Kronion, 15 km from the lonian Sea.

The Olympiad celebrated that year was considered as the first and was used to date subsequent historic events. But religious ceremonies and games were held in Olympia before that time.

The oldest sanctuary of Greece was there, the alter of the Great Mother of Gods, Rhea (Earth). On the day of the feast, the priest stood in front of the altar, ready to perform a sacrifice.

Women were forbidden to be present on one stadium (about 200 yds.) As soon as a signal was given they ran and the first to arrive at the altar received the torch from the priest's hand and lit the sacrifice fire."

The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in several changes to the Olympic Games. Some of these adjustments include the creation of the Winter Games for ice and winter sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with a physical disability, and the Youth Olympic Games for teenage athletes.

Modern Olympic Games

The revival work of the Games was undertaken by Baron Pierre de Coubertin nearly 1,500 years after the last of the ancient Games. He was born into a family of Italian origin which had settled in France.

It was on November 25, 1892, during a conference at Sorbonne about the history of physical exercises, that the first pronounced those famous six words in public "The Restoration of the Olympic Games" He said that the Games would ennoble and strengthen amateur sports to give them strength and lasting quality for an essential role in the world of modern education.

It was at the International Congress for the Study of the Propagation f the Principles of Amateurism held in Paris in June 1894 that the delegates led by Baron Pierre de Coubertin and associates unanimously voted to restore the Olympic Games and to create an International Olympic Committee to oversee them De Coubertin had planned to propose Paris for the site of the first modern Olympics in 900 but the enthusiasm and zeal of the delegates was so great that they insisted the first Games to be held in 1896 Games. Since then these Games are held every four years.

Olympic Symbol

It comprises five rings or circles, linked together to represent the sporting friendship of all people.

The rings also symbolise the continents- Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and America.

Each ring is of a different colour i.e. blue, yellow, black, green and red.

The rings are meant to represent five continents viz., Africa (black), America (red), Asia (yellow), Australia (green) and Europe (Blue).

Olympic Flag

The Olympic flag, created in 1913 at the suggestion of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, was solemnly inaugurated in Paris in June 1914 but it was raised over an Olympic stadium for the first time at the Antwerp used for the Winter Games.

These flags are made of white silk and contain above mentioned five interwined rings. From left to right the rings are blue, yellow, black, green and red.

Olympic Flame(Torch)

It was at the Amsterdam Games in 1928 that for the first time an Olympic flame was ceremonially lighted and burned in a giant torch at the entrance of the stadium.

The modern version of the flame was adopted in 1936 at the Berlin Games.

The Olympic flame symbolises the continuity between the ancient and modern games.

The torch, used to kindle the flame, is first lit by the sun's rays at Olympia, Greece, and then carried to the site of the Games by relay of runners.

Ships and planes are used when necessary. On July 15, 1976, space age technology was used to transport the flame from one continent to another.

Olympic Motto

The Olympic motto is "Citius-Altius-Fortius" (faster, higher, stronger). Rev. Father Didon (1840-1900), headmaster of a school near Paris and a great promoter of sports in the French Catholic colleges first used the motto and had it embroidered on the pennants of his school clubs.

This succinct definition of the philosophy of sport appealed to father Didon's friend, Baron Pierre de Coubertin who was responsible for the revival of the Olympic Games nearly 1,500 years after the last of the ancient Games.

It was adopted at his suggestion at the International congress for the "Study and Propagation of the Principles of Amateurism" on June 23, 1894, the same day on which the restoration of the Olympic Games and the creation of the International Olympic Committee were also decided.

Olympic Prizes, Medals and Certificates 

While in ancient times the Olympic heroes received a crown of olive branches for their exploits, modern Olympics Champions are rewarded with medals and certificates.

The winning athlete now receives a Gold medal, the athlete in the second place is awarded a silver medal and the third placed athlete in the second place is awarded a Silver medal and the third placed athlete wins a Bronze medal.

In addition, all athletes ranking from first to sixth receive a certificate. Each medal is 60 mm in diameter and 3 mm thick. The first and second place medals are made of 92.5 percent silver and the medals for the first winner is then plated with 6 gram of fine gold. Thus this medal is not full gold. The third place medal is of bronze.

Olympic Mascot

It was introduced in 1972 at the 20th Olympics Games held at Munich and since then an Olympic Mascot is selected for a particular year and venue.

Olympic Order 

Instituted in 1974, the Olympic Order in a gold, silver or bronze decoration, awarded to a person who has rendered outstanding services or displayed the Olympic ideals.

Mrs Indira Gandhi was awarded this Order in 1983 by the IOC for her contribution to the organisation of the New Delhi Asiad (1982.)

Introduction of Events in the Olympics
Events Year
Archery 1900 at Paris (but not held from 1924-1968)
Athletics 1896 at Athens
Badminton 1992 at Barcelona
Basketball 1904 and 1928 - a demostration event
1936 at Berlin as a medal event
Boxing 1904 at St Louis
Canoeing 1936 at Berlin (for men)
1948 at London (for women)
Cycling 1896 at Athens (but not held in 1904)
Equestrian 1900 at Paris (but not held in 1904 and 1908)
Fencing 1896 at Athens (for men)
1924 at Paris (for women)
Football 1900 at Paris (but not held in 1932)
Gymnastics 1896 at Athens
Handball 1936 at Berlin as outdoor handball
1952 at Helsinki as demostration games
1972 at Munich as a medal event
Hockey 1908 at London (but not held in 1912 and 1924) for men
1980 at Moscow for women
Judo 1964 at Tokyo (but not held in 1968)
Modern Pentathlon 1912 at Stockholm as individual competition
1952 at Helsinki as team event
Rowing 1896 at Athens
1976 at Montreal for women
Shooting 1896 at Athens (but not held in 1904 and 1928)
Swimming 1896 at Athens for men
1908 at London, diving for men
1912 at Stockholm, swimming and diving for women
1900 at Paris (waterpolo)
Tennis 1924 at Paris (but not held later)
1988 at Seoul (returned as medal event)
Table Tennis 1988 at Seoul
Vollyball 1964 at Tokyo for men and women
Weightlifting 1896 at Athens
Wrestling 1896 at Athens (Greco-Roman)
1904 at St Louis (Free style)
Yachting 1900 at Paris

Medal Name Games Sport Event
2 Silver Norman Pritchard* 1900 Paris Athletics Men's 200 metres
2 Silver Norman Pritchard* 1900 Paris Athletics Men's 200 metre hurdles
1 Gold National team 1928 Amsterdam Field hockey Men's competition
1 Gold National team 1932 Los Angeles Field hockey Men's competition
1 Gold National team 1936 Berlin Field hockey Men's competition
1 Gold National team 1948 London Field hockey Men's competition
1 Gold National team 1952 Helsinki Field hockey Men's competition
3 Bronze Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav 1952 Helsinki Wrestling Men's freestyle bantamweight
1 Gold National team 1956 Melbourne Field hockey Men's competition
2 Silver National team 1960 Rome Field hockey Men's competition
1 Gold National team 1964 Tokyo Field hockey Men's competition
3 Bronze National team 1968 Mexico Field hockey Men's competition
3 Bronze National team 1972 Munich Field hockey Men's competition
1 Gold National team 1980 Moscow Field hockey Men's competition
3 Bronze Leander Paes 1996 Atlanta Tennis Men's singles
3 Bronze Karnam Malleswari 2000 Sydney Weightlifting Women's 69 kg
2 Silver Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore 2004 Athens Shooting Men's double trap
1 Gold Abhinav Bindra 2008 Beijing Shooting Men's 10m Air Rifle
3 Bronze Sushil Kumar 2008 Beijing Wrestling Men's 66 kg Freestyle
3 Bronze Vijender Kumar 2008 Beijing Boxing Men's 75 kg

* IOC regards these medals as credited to India; however, International committees credit these medals to Great Britain.

Olympic Games host cities
Year Summer Olympic Games Winter Olympic Games Youth Olympic Games
Olympiad Host city No. Host city No. Host City
1896 I Athens, Greece

1900 II Paris, France

1904 III St. Louis, United States

1906 III Athens, Greece

1908 IV London, United Kingdom

1912 V Stockholm, Sweden

1916 VI Berlin, Germany
Cancelled because of World War I

1920 VII Antwerp, Belgium

1924 VIII Paris, France I Chamonix, France

1928 IX Amsterdam, Netherlands II St. Moritz, Switzerland

1932 X Los Angeles, United States III Lake Placid, United States

1936 XI Berlin, Germany IV Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

1940 XII Tokyo, Japan →
Helsinki, Finland →
Cancelled because of World War II
V Sapporo, Japan →
St. Moritz, Switzerland →
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany →
Cancelled because of World War II

1944 XIII London, United Kingdom →
Cancelled because of World War II
V Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy →
Cancelled because of World War II

1948 XIV London, United Kingdom V St. Moritz, Switzerland

1952 XV Helsinki, Finland VI Oslo, Norway

1956 XVI Melbourne, Australia +
Stockholm, Sweden
VII Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

1960 XVII Rome, Italy VIII Squaw Valley, United States

1964 XVIII Tokyo, Japan IX Innsbruck, Austria

1968 XIX Mexico City, Mexico X Grenoble, France

1972 XX Munich, West Germany XI Sapporo, Japan

1976 XXI Montreal, Canada XII Denver, United States
Innsbruck, Austria

1980 XXII Moscow, Soviet Union XIII Lake Placid, United States

1984 XXIII Los Angeles, United States XIV Sarajevo, Yugoslavia

1988 XXIV Seoul, South Korea XV Calgary, Canada

1992 XXV Barcelona, Spain XVI Albertville, France


XVII Lillehammer, Norway

1996 XXVI Atlanta, United States


XVIII Nagano, Japan

2000 XXVII Sydney, Australia


XIX Salt Lake City, United States

2004 XXVIII Athens, Greece


XX Turin, Italy

2008 XXIX Beijing, China


XXI Vancouver, Canada I (Summer)  Singapore
2012 XXX London, United Kingdom

I (Winter) Innsbruck, Austria

XXII Sochi, Russia II (Summer) Nanjing, China
2016 XXXI Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

II (Winter) To be determined

XXIII Pyeongchang, South Korea III (Summer) To be determined
2020 XXXII To be determined

III (Winter) To be determined

XXIV To be determined IV (Summer) To be determined

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was established on June 23, 1894 in order to organize the Olympic Games.

This organization continues to be the ruling body of the Olympics.

List of the past and present presidents of the IOC:
2001-2013 Count Jacques Rogge (Belgium)
1980-2001 Juan Antonio Samaranch (Spain)
1972-1980 Michael Morris (Ireland)
1952-1972 Avery Brundage (United States)
1946-1952 J. Sigfrid Edström (Sweden)
1925-1942 Henri de Baillet-Latour (Belgium)
1896-1925 Pierre de Coubertin (France)
1894-1896 Dimitrios Vikelas (Greece)



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